A leading hotel operator in Scotland is leading a chorus of opposition to the Scottish government’s plans to introduce a tourist tax across the country. The SNP executive is consulting on giving councils the power to introduce a visitor levy, which they can set themselves.
However, this means that the cost of staying in hotels and accommodation is different in each region, with even Scots being charged additional costs for stays. Concerns were expressed that this would discourage tourists from coming to the country.
However, this caused widespread concern among hotel companies, who highlighted that they are already suffering from the cost of living crisis and the slow recovery from Covid. This contributes to the regulatory red tape that is currently plaguing the sector, with rules such as the rules for short-term leases and the failure to reduce business rates also affecting them.
Travelodge, one of the country’s largest hotel brands, which operates 41 establishments, has already spoken out against the proposals. In a response to the consultation, the company said it was “concerned” about the collection of tourist funds and that “we should work together to attract new visitors to Scotland and not deter them.”
They added: “Around one in ten jobs in Scotland are in the hospitality industry and these jobs are at risk if a visitor levy is imposed and visitors stop coming to Scotland. The cost of living crisis has already reduced revenues for Scotland’s pubs, cafes and restaurants, and employers are under extreme pressure to survive. Therefore, we must protect jobs – which the visitor levy will not do.”
The plans provide for municipalities to set their own prices, which means that foreign visitors will be charged different amounts everywhere. And it will also affect the pocket of Scottish workers, because even stays on the spot will entail additional costs. Travelodge said the levy “could undermine Scotland’s position as a leading travel destination.”
They added: “The Committee should take note that Scotland (and the rest of the UK) is already doing very poorly in terms of price competitiveness compared to other destinations due to high taxes. for example, our VAT rate of 20%. In addition to the potential impact on international visitors, a fee could have a detrimental effect on domestic visitors.
“Overnight stays by residents of Scotland and the rest of the UK may well be affected, as British taxpayers are wondering why they are forced to pay even more tax to stay in their own country. As it stands, the fee will also apply to local residents. and companies that pay council tax and want to stay in local accommodation.”